Those of you who wonder what it would be like to have a book you wrote sitting on your shelf, here's how to do it, and without much cost:
1) Write a book. (This is like the recipe for rabbit stew -- first, catch a rabbit, but hey.)
2) Change the manuscript into a form designed for printing. (Basically, this means to single-space it, justify the type, pick a bookface font -- Times or Georgia will work nicely -- change any underlined text to italics, and lay the margins and spacing out so the pages fit the format of the size book you want. It sounds harder than it is. You can get all this information from Lulu.com. Just go there and click on the Publishing link at the top.
Basically, this is a matter of adjusting text by using the ruler on your word processor. Lulu likes Word docs, and those are easy to get to from most computers. Mac's Pages WP will export to that, and if you want, you can use Word (or OpenOffice.org's freebie version of Word.)
Run the spellchecker and all like that.
3) Make a cover. There's a cover wizard at Lulu.com takes you through the steps. You can use your own art or their generic stuff. It's paint-by-numbers -- I can do it, so anybody can.
4) Do all the other stuff Lulu tells you. Once you get that done, you can list it with them, then order a copy. For a medium-length mass-market paperback, with your author discount, that will probably run you about fourteen or fifteen bucks, plus shipping.
In a week or so, you'll get the book. If you followed the instructions, it will look like a real book, and you can leave it out where company will see it. When they do, shrug it off. Oh, that? No big deal ...
Total cost, if you have a manuscript, maybe one afternoon, and less than twenty bucks. And people could even buy it, though probably not many will, since they'll tack on a bit to your cost and a $6.99 paperback at B&N will run $21 from Lulu. A tad on the spendy side.
But still, you will have a book and your out-of-pocket cost is probably less than you spend taking the kids to Mickey D's for lunch. And if you order eight or ten copies, there's your Christmas presents for your family next time around.
And you are welcome ...